Arts and Culture

Alice Walker

Alice Walker recommends Richard Yates' novel following an advertising executive whose seemingly successful life quietly fractures under the pressure of mundanity, alcoholism, anger, and recklessness. She says she was drawn to the book because Yates' world was so different from hers.More

Antigone

Writer, classicist, and stand-up comic Natalie Haynes makes a strong case for reading ancient Greek and Roman literature in the modern age.More

Circe

Circe, the all-powerful goddess from Homer’s “The Odyssey,” is known for turning men into swine, and for her mastery of potions. The artwork “Circe,” imagined by Romare Bearden, is a black woman surrounded by mystical animals and a skull, wearing West African garb with a calm but defiant look on her face.More

Horror

Writer Gemma Files' Dangerous Idea? There are upsides to embracing horror — spending time playing out negative scenarios in fiction can lead to a more positive life.More

haunted burger

Listener Jonathan Blyth sent us a ghost story that might make you think twice about what — or whom — is on your plate.More

wedding ring in the dark.

Lorrie Moore — one of the best short story writers in the world — is a master of bringing a character to life in just a few words. She spoke to Steve about bringing characters to life in her collection called “Bark.”  More

Monster Dogs

Kirsten Bakis first wrote her story of biomechanically-enhanced, hyper-intelligent dogs 20 years ago, and it’s been a cult favorite ever since. So why create a post-modern Frankenstein story with dogs at the heart of the tale?More

Anne Strainchamps and Susan Orlean at the National Writers Series

Anne recently interviewed author Susan Orlean on stage at the National Writers Series in Traverse City, Michigan.More

Ma Dukes and J Dilla

James Dewitt Yancey – also known as J Dilla — was a hip hop super-producer and pioneering beat-maker. J Dilla died at just 32 years old, and worked right up until the end, making music and creating beats from his hospital bed. His mother was there for every bit of it.More

British writer Martin Amis is 68 years old. He’s written 14 novels, hundreds of essays, memoirs, even a screen play. But he has strong feelings about writers who work past their prime. So he feels the clock ticking — is it time to pack it in? When will he know?More

College students on the left are demanding protection from words and ideas they consider harmful. Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt worries that the end result will be a generation that doesn’t know how to have real debates or constructive arguments.More

The many Alma Mahlers

Alma Mahler inspired symphonies, poems and paintings. She was lover and muse to some of the most celebrated artists of the early 20th century. Novelist Mary Sharratt thinks she would have been a great artist in her own right – if she hadn’t been born a woman. More

Before John Muir and Charles Darwin, there was Alexander von Humboldt, the German scientist who shaped our understanding of nature. Now, he’s largely forgotten, but biographer Andrea Wulf says he was once the world's most famous scientist. More

bamboo graffitt

If climate change is the most urgent problem facing humanity, why are there so few novels about it? Acclaimed novelist Amitav Ghosh believes that’s a big problem. He says climate change is less a science problem than a crisis of imagination.More

Western hemisphere of the moon

The moon explodes and the earth is doomed. Neal Stephenson's 800-page novel "Seveneves" spans 5,000 years of human survival in outer space.More

Karl Ove Knaussgard

Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard talks about his autobiographical novel, “My Struggle,” as well as his unorthodox approach to writing.More

Thomas Page McBee

Thomas Page McBee achieved a first recently – he became the first transgender man ever to box at Madison Square Garden. He talked to Angelo Bautista about what he learned about male violence and why men fight.More

Start of an amateur boxing match, Rayne, Louisiana. 1938. Photographer Lee Russell

In light of recent boxing tragedies, Charles and Steve are grappling with the ethics of boxing. It’s a debate that’s probably going on in a lot of places and will – unfortunately – continue.More

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